Posted: Mon 3rd Jul 2023

“We need to encourage people to visit Powys, but these new charges are doing the exact opposite” /
This article is old - Published: Monday, Jul 3rd, 2023

CALLS will be made at a full Powys County Council meeting to review the car parking price hike which came into force in April. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

This is due to fears that Powys town centre businesses are suffering as people avoid shopping there due to the cost of parking. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The car parking fees were increased as part of the 2023/2024 budget by the Liberal Democrat/Labour/Green administration which runs the council.
Councillors from both Independents for Powys and the Independent group have joined forces and submitted a motion to be debated at the meeting, which is set for Thursday, July 20. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The proposal will be put forward by Cllr Gareth E Jones of the Independent for Powys group and will be seconded by Cllr Graham Breeze of the Independent group. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Jones said: “Removing the ‘up to one hour’ ticket option in long stay car parks across the county has resulted in a 150 per cent increase from £1 to £2-50 for someone just popping to the shops for a few things or for a quick coffee with friends.”
The intention of the price hike to generate an extra £50,000 for the council is disputed by the councillors. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

They claim that applying the increased charges to the 2021-2022 car park usage figures would make around £317,000 for the council, more than six times the financial target. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Jones said: “That extra money can be used to offset any review costs in time for the next full council meeting in October.”
Cllr Breeze said: “Businesses across the county are reporting lower footfall and are blaming the increases in parking charges.
“Fewer people are using our car parks and vehicles are being parked on housing estates or in hospital car parks.
“The new charges are certainly not fair on towns where there are no short-stay parking facilities.
“We need to encourage people to visit Powys, but these new charges are doing the exact opposite.”
The motion calls for: “A full review of the car park charges and category of all county council run car parks in the authority with the results and recommendations of that review being brought back to the next council meeting on October 5.”
It asks for councillor to be give a “fully costed estimate” of the income for this year when compared with the base budget and any details of budget virements needed.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands that the financial analysis of the motion will say that it would cost the council around £40,000 to pay for consultants who specialise in parking management to do the review.
The car park price hike is one of many ideas that council chiefs produced to try and bridge a funding gap of £16.4 million in this year’s budget which was voted through last February. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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